No Confidence motion: This is how Andhra Pradesh's demand from NDA for special status will affect its neighbours

The mover of the no-confidence motion against the NDA government is the Telugu Desam. Chandrababu Naidu's grouse is that the Centre did not keep its promise to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh. This was a promise made inside Parliament by then Prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2013. That SCS will be given to Andhra was reiterated by Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu on the campaign trail ahead of the 2014 election. In fact, Venkaiah Naidu said SCS will be accorded not for five years, as promised by Singh, but for a decade if the BJP came to power.

Why has Naidu been keen to move the no-confidence motion? He believes this will give his party a platform, that was denied last time, to present his case before the country. It also allows him to show to the Jaganmohan Reddy and Pawan Kalyan that he is the first to fight for Andhra's cause. 

But it is not just the BJP that Naidu seeks to target. The notes prepared for the TDP MPs point out that in 2013 when the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh was being discussed, the entire political spectrum represented in the two Houses was party to the decision. Almost all the same parties are still a part of this Lok Sabha and therefore, the TDP argument is that if they were witness to the promise (read special category status for Andhra Pradesh) made in 2013, they should also be party to how the promise has not been kept. 

It also allows the TDP to further cement its position as a leading light of the anti-BJP brigade. Naidu loses no opportunity to remind people of his position as Convenor of the United Front 22 years ago in 1996. It is also a pointer to Naidu's own national ambitions in case he is able to secure a second term for his party in Andhra and the opposition manages to get the better of the BJP in the rest of the country. Naidu may then look to make a move to New Delhi, leaving Amaravati in the care of his son, IT minister Nara Lokesh. The no-trust motion in that sense, the first stone cast in that direction. 

But there is a catch. In March 2017, the Andhra Pradesh assembly passed a resolution thanking the Centre for approving a special economic package for the state. During the debate, Chandrababu Naidu said every benefit that would have come under the Special Category status (SCS) would accrue to Andhra through the package. 

“This will be the harbinger of development of our new state that suffered heavily due to the irrational bifurcation,” added the chief minister. 

On Friday, all the BJP has to do is to take out this resolution and read out from it during the debate on the no-confidence motion moved by the Telugu Desam. 

But despite Naidu's attempt to make it seem that it is not just Andhra vs the Centre, his own southern neighbours are not inclined to stand by his side. Both the TRS and the AIADMK are unlikely to sail with the TDP. 

The reason is that both Hyderabad and Chennai are not in favour of SCS to Andhra. The argument is that special incentives to Andhra will tempt investors to shift base or look at Amaravati as the place to make fresh investments. Already Tamil Nadu loses investments to Sri City SEZ in Chittoor district, located at a distance of 65 km from Chennai. In fact, 25 per cent of the companies working out of Sri City have their registered offices in Chennai and chose Andhra only because of a more favorable industrial climate and ecosystem.

Likewise, Anantapur district in Andhra on the border with Karnataka is being projected as a manufacturing hub. With real estate expensive in Bengaluru, areas in Anantapur stand to gain, with their proximity to Bengaluru airport. KCR has reportedly reached out to his friends in the JD(S), to point out that if Andhra's lament is addressed, it will be at the expense of Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. 

This division in the peninsula would be music to the BJP's ears and dents Naidu's attempt to make new friends in the non-BJP political landscape. 

The BJP would want to point out that Naidu's umbrage at the BJP is with an eye on the 2019 elections. The TDP chief gained by making a villain of the Congress that had divided Andhra Pradesh ahead of the 2014 polls. Demonising the BJP is going back to the same template, with a few minor tweaks.

 

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